Advertising in the age of OTT: How Consumers’ Growing Standards for Streaming Quality Translate to Ads

The article below is written by Charlie Kraus, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Limelight Networks.


There’s no doubt that the cord-cutting movement is gaining steam. With fewer eyeballs on traditional programming and TV screens, advertisers are left wondering what these evolving viewing behaviors mean for their age-old “commercials.”

Good news for advertisers – in the digital age where many consumers look to block or skip every advertisement presented to them, it’s surprising to see that cord-cutters are actually receptive to watching commercials. In fact, a recent FreeWheel report reveals viewers on TV-connected streaming platforms view 98% of all video ads in their entirety.

Over-the-top (OTT) viewing combines the power of digital media and advertising with the experience of traditional television, creating a compelling environment for viewers to engage with both content and marketing partners’ messaging. But as more consumers cut the cord, their standards for quality of experience will proportionately grow – and ads on these OTT platforms will need to be up-to-par in order to not seem disruptive to consumers.

Namely, consumers’ tolerance for pixilated, delayed and rebuffering video continues to shrink, and this will soon translate to their standards for ads, too. To meet the growing expectations of today’s viewers, content providers will need to consider smarter technologies that boost the quality of all forms of OTT video, including advertisements.

But what does it take to bring an OTT offering to market? What’s needed to attract and retain customers and, ultimately, boost ad revenue?

Content, content, content. To differentiate in the increasingly crowded OTT industry, and therefore, drive higher viewership numbers, OTT services need to think about original and niche content. Offering unique OTT content is key to attracting new viewers and getting them hooked on a particular streaming service. If a platform simply licenses “run-of-the-mill” content that’s available everywhere, there’s really nothing there to entice viewers to come back for more. Creating and distributing exclusive, niche content will be what sets OTT services apart, and ultimately what drives advertisers to a platform.

Get Sticky Through QoE. To develop a sticky, engaging OTT service where viewers return time and again, ensuring the best quality of experience (QoE) possible is critical. Why? Viewers expect broadcast quality from online video. In fact, Limelight’s recent State of Online Video research report revealed that nearly half of consumers will stop watching an online video after the second time it buffers.

Anywhere, Anytime. OTT consumers are often mobile viewers that consume content from a variety of places — waiting in line at a store, during a long cross-country flight, and even while on vacation. Viewers are accessing content from a variety of devices such as smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes, gaming consoles, and other devices. So, optimizing content to be viewed across multiple devices is no longer a “should I?” – it’s a “must do.”

There’s plenty of opportunity for advertisers in the digital age.  But cord-cutters’ expectations for quality video-viewing experiences are only getting higher – meaning advertisers and the content providers they work with to display their ads need to ensure they’ve implemented a strong enough network that optimizes content for every viewer, every device and every scenario.

Charlie Kraus

The new Found Remote